Benjamin F. Atkinson (1822-1897) was born in Liberty, Maine, and died in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He moved to Newburyport in 1866 and served as the city's mayor in 1875 and 1876. Atkinson was also the founder of the Atkinson Coal Company. He and his wife, Harriet C. Atkinson, studied with Mary Baker Eddy in February 1877. He withdrew his membership from the Christian Scientist Association, along with his daughter and wife, on May 26, 1880, a week before Edward J. Arens (who married Atkinson's daughter, Adelma, the following year) was expelled from the Association.